Unit 3 Vocabulary AP History

Chapter 11 Vocabulary

1. parliamentary government- a form of government in which the chief executive is the leader of the majority party in the legislature.

2. Electoral College- the electoral system used in electing the president and vice president, in which voters vote for electors pledged to cast their ballots for a particular party's candidates.

3. presidential ticket- the joint listing of the presidential and vice presidential candidates on the same ballot, as required by the 12th amendment

4. vesting clause- the president's constitutional authority to control most executive functions

5. treaty- A formal, public agreement between the United States and one or more nations that must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate

6. executive agreement- A formal agreement between the U.S. president and the leaders of other nations that does not require Senate approval.

7. congressional-executive agreement- A formal agreement between the U.S. president and the leaders of other nations that requires approval by both houses of Congress.

8. recess appointment- Presidential appointment made without Senate confirmation during Senate recess

9. veto- A formal decision to reject a bill passed by Congress.

10. pocket veto- A formal decision to reject a bill passed by Congress after it adjourns-if Congress adjourns during the ten days that the president is allowed in order to sign or veto a law, the president can reject the law by taking no action at all.

11. take care clause- The constitutional requirement (in Article II, Section 3) that presidents take care that the laws are faithfully executed, even if they disagree with the purpose of those laws.

12. inherent powers- Powers that grow out of the very existence of government.

13. State of the Union Address- The president's annual statement to Congress and the nation.

14. signing statements- a formal document that explains why a president is signing a particular bill into law. These statements may contain objections to the bill and promises not to implement key sections.

15. impeachment- Formal accusation against the president or other public official, the first step in removal from office.

16. war power resolution- a resolution passed in 1973 requiring the president to give advance warning of a military attack or ask congress for a declaration of war or specific legislation.

17. executive privilege- The right to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.

18. executive orders- Formal orders issued by the president to direct action by the federal bureaucracy.

19. executive memorandum- a less powerful formal order to an agency or agencies, that does not carry the force of law, to undertake a particular course of action.

20. impoundment- A decision by the president not to spend money appropriated by Congress, now prohibited under federal law.

21. line item veto- Presidential power to strike, or remove, specific items from a spending bill without vetoing the entire package; declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

22. chief of staff- The head of the White House staff

23. Executive Office of the President- The cluster of presidential staff agencies that help the president carry out his responsibilities. Currently the office includes the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisors, and several other units.

24. Office of Management and Budget- Presidential staff agency that serves as a clearinghouse for budgetary requests and management improvements for government agencies.

25. cabinet- Advisory council for the president, consisting of the heads of the executive departments, the vice president, and a few other officials selected by the president.

26. Presidential support score- the percentage of times a president wins on key votes in Congress

27. mandate-A president's claim of broad public support.

28. political capital- the amount of overall public approval that a president can use to win support for major decisions and proposals.

29. rally point- A rise in public approval of the president that follows a crisis as Americans "rally 'round the flag" and the chief executive.


Chapter 13 Vocabulary

  1. Judicial review- the power of the courts to determine weather a law or government regulation is consistent with the U.S. constitution or, in a state court, the state constitution.
  2. adversary system- a judicial system in which the court of law is a neutral arena where two parties argue their differences.
  3. Criminal Law- a law that defines crimes against the public order
  4. Civil Law- a law that governs relationships between individuals and defines their legal rights
  5. Prosecutor- Government lawyer who tries criminal cases, often referred and defines their legal rights.
  6. Defendant- in a criminal action, the person or party accused of an offence.
  7. Plea Bargain- an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plea guilty to a lesser offence to avoid having to stand trial for a more serious offence.
  8. judicial dispute- a dispute growing out of an actual case or controversy that is capable of settlement by legal methods.
  9. Plaintiff- The party investigating a civil lawsuit.
  10. U.S. attorney General- the chief law enforcement officer in the U.S. and the head of the Department of Justice.
  11. Solicitor General- the third ranking official in the Department of Justice who is responsible for representing the U.S. in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  12. Public Defender System- an arrangement whereby public officials are hired to provide legal assistance to people who are unable to hire their own attorneys.
  13. district courts- courts in which civil and criminal cases are originally tried in the federal judicial system.
  14. circuit courts of appeals- courts with appellate jurisdiction that hear appeals from the decisions of lower courts.
  15. supreme court- the court of last resort in the U.S. It can hear appeals from federal circuit courts or state high courts.
  16. original jurisdiction- the authority of a court to hear a case "in the first instance"
  17. appellate jurisdiction- the authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts.
  18. precedent- a decision made by a higher court such as a circuit court of appeals or the supreme court that is binding on all other federal courts.
  19. Writ of habeas corpus- a court order requiring explanation to a judge why a pensioner is being held in custody.
  20. senatorial courtesy- the presidential custom of submitting the names of prospective appointees for approval to senators from the states in which the appointees are to work.
  21. judicial activism- a philosophy proposing that judges should freely strike down laws enacted by the democratically elected branches.
  22. judicial restraint- a philosophy proposing that judges should strike down the actions of the elected branches only if they clearly violate the constitution.
  23. writ of certiorari- a formal writ used to bring a case before the supreme court.
  24. in forma pauperis- a petition that allows a party to file "as a pauper" and avoid paying court fees.
  25. docket- the list of potential cases that reach the Supreme Court.
  26. amicus curiae brief- literally, a " friend of the court" brief, filled by an individual or organization to present arguments in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case.
  27. opinion of the court- and explanation of a decision of the Supreme court or any other appeal court.
  28. dissenting opinion- an opinion disagreeing with the majority in a supreme court ruling.
  29. concurring opinion- an opinion that agrees with the majority in a supreme court ruling but differs in reason.
  30. stare decisis- the rule of precedent, whereby a rule or law contained in a judicial decision is commonly viewed as binding on judges whenever the same question is presented.